Land Use Committee Discusses 2020 Goals

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   February 6, 2020

Chris Sneddon, Deputy Director of Transportation for the County of Santa Barbara, was back in front of the Montecito Association Land use Committee on Tuesday, reporting that several changes have been made to the San Ysidro Roundabout project over the last several weeks. The project is set to be back in front of Montecito Board of Architectural Review (MBAR) this Thursday for its second conceptual review.  

Sneddon said that comments from the Montecito Association and MBAR, as well as members of the public, voiced concern over safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. The six-foot pedestrian pathway that runs through the roundabout has been widened to eight feet, to accommodate pedestrians, as well as bicyclists who decide they do not want to traverse the single lane roundabout with vehicle traffic. “It is now easy to get out of the traffic if they don’t feel comfortable riding in the main lane, and onto the pedestrian path,” Sneddon said, adding that curb cuts from the lane to the pathway were also added. The County has been working with COAST and the Bicycle Coalition to build in this change to the project. The widened pathway now allows two pedestrians on the pathway to pass each other with more ease.

“We are striking a balance to widen the path but also accommodate a lush landscape aesthetic, that fits in with the community,” Sneddon said. The updated project will be discussed at MBAR later this week, and there is a community meeting on February 27 at Montecito Union School from 4 pm to 6 pm, for the public to review and comment on the project.

Also at Land Use: the Committee discussed their top five goals for Montecito land use planning this year, including traffic, community safety, water security, underground utilities and renewable energy, and coastal resiliency.

Consultant Lisa Knox Burns outlined the various priorities to the Committee, giving an overview on different issues within the five categories. Traffic issues include being a voice during the planning of the Highway 101 widening, and safety of local bridges and proposed roundabouts. Community safety issues include being involved during the building of the Randall Road Debris Basin, lessons learned from recent wildfires and debris flow, ADUs in high fire areas, and more. Water security includes acting in partnership with Montecito Water District and Montecito Sanitary District to encourage and support desalination and recycled water projects, as well as securing a contract for a long-term water supply agreement. The Land Use Committee will also be involved in discussions about utilities, helping private homeowners navigate the process of undergrounding utilities, and facilitating renewable energy projects. They will also stay abreast of ordinance amendments and grant funding related to the effects of sea level rise along the county’s coastline.

The Land Use Committee will prioritize these issues and formulate action plans over the next several meetings. For more information, visit


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